Do512’s Restaurant of the Week: Liberty Kitchen

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As seafood enthusiasts with a modest oyster addiction, our utter excitement and expectations for our experience at Liberty Kitchen were already high. Who knew that the decor alone would knock us off of our feet? The clean lines, edison bulbs, super cool ceiling, and perfectly balanced color palette set the tone for this awesome culinary journey. We slid into our sleek, modern booth facing the open concept kitchen and a private room to our left adorned with wine bottles on the wall, and so began a fantastic time at this causal, yet chic Gulf Coast style dining restaurant.

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Chef Crash, who hails from the Liberty Kitchen in Houston, Texas owned by F.E.E.D TX Restaurant Group, started us off with the Deviled Egg Trial. Holy cow, what a way to start the meal! Hot smoked salmon, a fried oyster, pimento cheese n crab, and our favorite, the spicy fried chicken n’ sauce. This starter paired with our light and berry filled Lillie Langatry libation from the restaurant’s impressive cocktail program was delicious, but the stand out element was the delectable bacon jam that Liberty Kitchen bottles and sells in mason jars. We would happily buy this in bulk and gift this bacon jam to anyone near and dear to our hearts with confidence that we have just given them the greatest gift of their lives.

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Deviled Egg Trial

Next up was the Fort Nonsense. Words can not describe the overwhelming feeling of joy that washed over us as this was delivered by Liberty Kitchen’s gracious and attentive servers. The Fort Nonsense is completely stacked with any and all of your desired treats from the sea. The oysters, lobster, king crab, jumbo shrimp, and clams are all delivered fresh- sometimes twice a day from The Gulf and New England. The oysters ranged from large gulf oysters to small, salty, briny oysters. Lulu’s Salad was full of shellfish, squid, herbs, olive, avocado, and a medley of other fresh vegetables.

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Fort Nonsense w/ Lulu’s Salad

The following dish is one of Liberty’s most popular menu items, the Shanghai Sweet and Chili Fried Whole Lobster. After this insanely delicious dish, we continued our ascent towards foodie heaven with the ribeye, delectable mashed potatoes, and brussels sprouts. As an avid hunter of the greatest brussels sprouts in the City of Austin, these shaved brussels complete with smoked grapes, bacon, and a hint of horseradish are definite front runners.

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Shanghai Sweet and Chili Fried Whole Lobster

As we sipped the refreshing Gin and Tonic, eyeing the comfortable seating and enjoying the exceptionally curated music playing in the background, we looked over Liberty Kitchen’s insane brunch menu. This hot spot boasts an outrageously delicious brunch on Saturdays and Sundays until 2:30 pm with dishes ranging from sweets like Cinnamon Challah French Toast to Oeuf Mollet. Liberty Kitchen’s happy hour is also quite the standout and a must-go considering it is EVERYDAY from 3pm-6pm boasting 50 cents off of oysters, half off burgers, queso, chicken wings, and select bottles of wine. And in addition to happy hour, Liberty Kitchen is also open 7 days a week for lunch!

The menu and experience at Liberty Kitchen so far had been incredible, but the dessert elevated this experience to something unrivaled. These are the desserts one would order for my ‘last meal.’ The Mexican Cinnamon Chocolate & Cajeta Bread Pudding and the Breakfast Cereal Style Shake were rich, decadent, and oh so chocolate-y. Second to our love affair with seafood is our passion for desserts and we would eat several of these many times a day. Chef Crash, you can expect to see us for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, happy hour, and any time in between.

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The Mexican Cinnamon Chocolate & Cajeta Bread Pudding

Pay a visit to Do512 for your chance to win a $30 gift card and head over to Clarksville’s Liberty Kitchen for ambience, quality food, and exceptional service!

http://www.libertykitchenatx.com/

— Contributed by Erica Greenwald —

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Get Tropical at The Volstead Lounge Patio Bar

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Now that summer is here and the heat is rising all over Austin, you’ll want to find a way to keep cool. A very refreshing way to accomplish that is with a cool island drink. All summer long, the Volstead Lounge Patio Bar will be hosting a tropical happy hour with a new drink menu, offering a tasty respite to your usual diet of tall boys.

On Wednesday through Saturday, head to East Sixth for serial chiller drink specials from The Volstead’s brand new “Island Style Drink Menu,” featuring over 40 varieties rums and tequila, frozen margaritas, tropical cocktails and more. From 7pm – 10pm, you can also grab $3 frozen drinks to help combat the muggy temperatures and tropical storms.

There isn’t a cooler place to enjoy cold drinks on a patio in Austin this summer, so throw on a Hawaiian button-down and enjoy some island-style flavors on the East Side. Check Do512 for more info and upcoming events!

Dawes is Back in Austin w/ Langhorne Slim at Stubb’s

LA rock quartet Dawes is currently in the midst of their headlining tour in support of their new album, All Your Favorite Bands. In addition to a stop in Austin at Stubb’s with Langhorne Slim, the tour has featured appearances at the Bonnaroo, a gig with Mumford & Sons, plus a host of other festival dates around the world.

In April the band visited the Ed Sullivan Theater, at the request of David Letterman himself, to perform their new single “Things Happen.” As a special gift to the show’s parting host, Dawes also performed a touching rendition of the classic Warren Zevon song “Desperados Under The Eaves.” Letterman said “let me tell you a little something about Dawes…if you’re looking for a rock ‘n roll band, this is pretty much all you need right here….tremendous…they got it going on.”

Dawes sound leans on the straight-shootin’ harmonies found in good ol’ southern folk with a throw in a dash of modern blues. Can you believe that before switching up their sound, Dawes was a post-punk band? They took a surprising left-turn in favor of making howling debut record, North Hills, in 2009. They stopped by the Do512 Lounge in 2011, performing “Time Spent in Los Angeles” and “A Little Bit of Everything” from their second album, Nothing is Wrong, on ATO Records.

Langhorne Slim & The Law will open the show for Dawes at Stubb’s on June 24, after having shared stages with the likes of Cake, Drive-By Truckers, The Avett Bros, The Violent Femmes, and more. Find more info on the show at Do512, and enter to win a pair of tickets!

Best Coast w/ Bully at Emo’s | Tuesday, June 23

Texas is hot. Especially in the summer. And even more so when we get the hot bands to come through town. And two of the hottest will be at Emo’s on Tuesday, June 23rd courtesy of C3 Presents. We are course referring to the lovely, and talented, Best Coast and Bully.

Bully has been on the up-and-up without looking back. Releasing a self-titled debut EP in October of last year, the group was recognized by the bullish attitude and lyrics of front-lady (and former Steve Albini intern) Alicia Bognanno.

The Nashville quintet is now touring in support of their debut LP, Feels Like, set for release on June 23 via StarTime International/Columbia. The album’s ten tracks cover break ups, missed period’s, puking in cars and most experiences quintessential to one’s youth.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say Bully took a page from the book of Best Coast, the brainchild of songstress Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno. Best Coast started making waves with their sun-dappled surf rock in 2010, releasing their debut album, Crazy For You, via Mexican Summer. The duo recently released their third studio album, California Nights, on May 5 via Harvest Records.

Don’t miss Best Coast with Bully at Austin’s Emo’s on Tuesday, June 23. You can find more details and win tickets on Do512!

Do512’s Restaurant of the Week: VOX Table

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Though it has only opened its doors a mere month ago, VOX Table seems to already be the talk of the town. Debuting in the chic Lamar Union complex on South Lamar, the contemporary space boasts a sophisticated fusion menu and innovative cocktail menu.  While not a new concept in South Austin, which is quickly becoming prime real estate for Austin’s premiere eateries, there is a special something that separates VOX Table from its pretentious but well established neighbors; its fun, like really fun! Boasting a menu of refined small plates that flourish with seasonal and locally sourced ingredients alongside whimsical cocktails and stellar service, VOX Table has certainly earned its stripes as the best new restaurant in town.

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Lisa Woods Photography

Helmed by Executive Chef Joe Anguiano the beautifully prepared menu reflects the chef’s impressive pedigree including stints at Le Cirque 2000, Patina, Bazaar Restaurant, and the 2 Michelin star Zuberoa in Spain. Influenced by the best of American, French and Spanish/Basque cuisines, each delicacy is the perfect combination of Texas ingredients and classic elements served in an innovative manner that appeals to all the senses. Split into sections including Provisions, Leaves + Roots, Fins + Shells, Feathers + Beaks, and Hooves; favourites include crunchy Chickpea Fritters paired with slow cooked tomato marmalade or their take on the Northern delicacy Poutine, kennebec potatoes topped with a savory gravy, cheese curds and a pig head terrine. Served 7 days a week for dinner service (Sun-Wed 5-10pm, Thurs.-Sat. 5-11) with Happy Hour Mon-Fri at the bar top (5-6:30), VOX table is already a neighbourhood staple and a hit with the service industry (combine service on a Monday night with fantastic cocktails and you have a winner.) The restaurant places just as much emphasis on the drink portion of the menu featuring award winning House Cocktails, handcrafted cocktails designed by Beverage Director Travis Tober, Classic Cocktails, and an extensive Beer and Wine List and the brand new Old Fashioneds Menu where in the quest for creating the perfect Old Fashioned guests can order the top shelf liquors for their old fashioned by the ounce.

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Even better news? They have brunch now!  Every Saturday and Sunday from 11-3, VOX Table will be serving up the best brunch in town. The Brunch Cocktail Menu features 3 different types of mimosas each complete with a freshly squeezed juice, a Wisconsin style Bloody Mary accompanied by a Miller Lite beer back, and the delightful Saturday Morning Toons; a playful concoction of red handed bourbon, vanilla bitters and cereal washed milk to recreate the childhood sensation of Cinnamon Toast Crunch soaking in the milk as you watched your Saturday morning cartoons.

The brunch food menu is equally delightful with innovative classics including the Crab Benedict composed of butter poached crab in a Yorkshire pudding popover and topped with a house made hollandaise, prosciutto chip and egg 63. Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy the Stuffed Brioche Toast: brioche stuffed with housemade ricotta and strawberries lightly roasted on the half oak, half mesquite grill and accompanied with a little syrup. Are you drooling yet? Fans will also be delighted to discover that starting mid July they will be serving lunch Monday – Friday from 11-3pm featuring a bountiful menu of salads, sandwiches, and more.

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Having already heard such great tales, we were incredibly excited to be invited to enjoy VOX Table. One thing that truly sets VOX Table apart is their eye for detail, everything from the restaurant design to the plating is immaculate. High ceilings, and large windows create an impressive atmosphere and interested guests are invited to sit at either the bar or the open kitchen to see Chef Joe at work and marvel at the intricacy of each dish. The service is absolutely on point at all times; friendly and knowledgeable, the entire staff is curated to create a fun, memorable dining experience.

As splendid as the setting is, it is the cocktails and drink menu which really stands out.  Favorites include the refreshing Danny Trejo (named after the man himself) with smooth tequila and fire and damnation bitters balanced by crisp lillet, smoked pineapple, ginger shrub and grapefruit. The Herb is the Word is a spicier cocktail blending gin with lemon, a restful herb tea syrup, cocchi americano and yellow chartreuse. The fun Monkey See Monkey Do was more playful, served in a tiki glass and constructed with smooth white rum and coconut milk with tropical lemon, lime, giffard banana, absinthe and spiced liquor.

Currently two of the cocktails are served on draft including the Irish Goodbye: orange zest infused Tullamore Dew with cherry heering, Grey Earl tea and lemon. By building in batches, the bartenders are able to ensure the quality of each cocktail and pour delicious cocktails in 1/16th of the time it would take.  The Classic Cocktail List highlights standby favourites with creative twists and fresh ingredients. Take the Mexican Firing Squad; the classic pairing of tequila and lime updated with grenadine and angostura bitters. One unique quality is the Low ABV portion of the menu, cocktails perfect for a business lunch or a first date where you want to keep your wits about you including the delicate Bad to the Bonal, a fortified wine cocktail served in a copper mug.

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After tasting how delightful the cocktails were, we were ecstatic to sample some of the plates.  Starting with a dish off the Provisions Menu, we started with the Charcuterie Plate. Rosemary bread paired perfectly with a housemade duck prosciutto, rustic pork terrine, and wildfire bleu.  Moving on to the Leaves and Roots, we settled on the picturesque French Style Carrots.  Perfect orange and purple carrots were roasted with a brown butter molasses and scattered with sweet pomegranate seeds and hazelnuts and balanced with a refreshing yogurt. The Fins and Shells portion of the menu highlights some of the more adventurous dishes from Chef Joe. Wood Fired Oysters are seared perfectly and topped with savory pancetta, herb crumble and garlic. One dish that remains a favorite is the Calamari Noodles. Delicate calamari is paired with a velvety roasted corn aioli served with smoked tomatoes and smoky chorizo. It was the perfect dish, light but filling and leaving us licking the plate. The Roasted Tasmanian Sea Trout was topped with a crispy skin on top of a brown butter persillade, a delightful kimchi paste and exquisite shimeji mushrooms and mui choy. Chef Joe saved the best for last when he served us the Woodfire Grilled Quail.  Beautifully roasted quail served in the style of pollo rico with a sauce of dehydrated olives, lemon juice and chicken stock paired with charred onion tops, picturesque watermelon radishes and an artichoke barigoule. It was a beautiful spring dish and a wonderful way to round out a perfect meal.

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What better way to end the night than with a pair of stunning desserts?  Pastry Chef Allison Henschel’s Dessert menu continues the trend of innovation and seasonal ingredients.  The decadent Sazerac Sunday is perfect little rye whiskey custards with pecan brittle, a candied lemon, Peychaud’s ice cream and fennel chip paired with a caramel and rye whiskey soaked clementine. The Creme Fraiche Cheesecake was something to write home about, homemade creme fraiche alongside a strawberry compote, fried ginger, yuzu curd and topped with a beautiful slice of black sesame glass.

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In the wise words of the house GM, LisaMarie Pinder, “Food is meant to be fun,” and that is exactly what you will find at VOX Table. Regardless of how stunning the interior is or refined the small food is, what it boils down to is playful, fun food and drink with an amazing staff. Be sure to swing by to sample the new Old Fashioned menu as well as the new Brunch Menu.  Oh and if you take an Uber or taxi there show them your receipt and your first drink is on the house!

Plus, we’re giving away a $30 gift card as you know! So you know what to do. Head over to Do512 and enter to win!

http://voxtableaustin.com/

— Contributed by Page Jensen Slattengren —